Saturday, November 2, 2013
Offense key to stopping Gators' Jax drought
By Edward Aschoff
If Florida is going to stop its two-game losing streak to Georgia on Saturday, its offense has to show up. Well, not the offense it had for most of October, but one that can move the football and find the end zone.
That offense hasn't been around since the Gators walked over Arkansas in a 30-10 home win Oct. 5. Since then, Florida has registered 391 yards and 16 offensive points in two games (both losses). Thanks to poor protection up front, the passing game has been in shambles and the running game has been nonexistent.
Florida (4-3, 3-2 SEC) is now last in the SEC in total offense (337 yards per game) and yards per play (4.9).
The good news is that Florida is playing a young Georgia defense that has had plenty of growing pains all season, giving up nearly 400 yards a game. The Gators are hoping to get an offensive boost from new starting running back Kelvin Taylor. And if he's going to get going, he should probably stick to runs on the outside.
The Bulldogs' defense is last in the SEC when it comes to stopping runs outside of the tackle box. Georgia is giving up 6.3 yards per carry on runs outside the tackles and 4.2 yards before contact on rushes to the outside, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The Dawgs have also given up 11 rushing touchdowns on the outside and six runs of 20-plus yards.
Taylor averages seven yards per carry on runs outside of the tackle box, according to ESPN Stats & Information. So getting Taylor to the outside would greatly benefit the Gators this weekend. It will wear down Georgia's defense and open up a passing game that's been inconsistent all year.
And a win keeps Florida's SEC Eastern Division championship hopes alive. Missouri still needs to drop two more SEC games and the Gators have to win out. A trip to Atlanta isn't impossible, but it is going to be a stretch for the Gators, especially if they can't get their offense going.
That quest starts in Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday.